In an ideal situation, your wisdom teeth will grow in straight and healthy and won't need to be removed. However, some problems can occur before or while your wisdom teeth start growing in, and some of these problems will necessitate their removal. If your teeth come in at the wrong angle -- or can't grow in at all -- if they cause problems with your gums or if they are impacted or cracked, they will often need to be removed to keep the rest of your teeth and jaw healthy.
Teeth Growing In Sideways
Wisdom teeth will always have the hardest time coming in because the rest of your teeth are already there and have taken their places. With often little room left to come in, your wisdom teeth will sometimes be pushed to the side. Sometimes wisdom teeth are only a little crooked, but if they grow in pointing towards your cheek or towards the inside of your mouth, they can cause a lot of pain.
Teeth growing in sideways can cut your cheeks and can also push some of your other teeth towards each other. Because of the pain and the possibility of damage to your other teeth, the wisdom teeth should be removed. Because of the angle they're growing in, they may require surgery, but many patients opt for surgery anyway if they are frightened or nervous.
Pericoronitis is a type of infection that happens when a wisdom tooth doesn't grow in properly. When this happens, a flap of skin is left over the top of part of the tooth, and while this is painless, the flap can trap food and bacteria underneath it that, over time, can result in the swelling and irritation of the gums.
This doesn't always mean that your wisdom teeth must be removed. The flap of tissue can be surgically removed, and the problem will likely go away. However, if the food trapped underneath the flap has also caused tooth decay that has gone untreated for too long, the tooth itself may also need to be removed. Because of the location of wisdom teeth, it's often less expensive to have them removed rather than crowned.
Wisdom teeth can occasionally grow in fractured, at which point a removal is almost certainly necessary. However, cracks can also come later in life from chewing hard foods or due to lack of proper cleaning. If your wisdom tooth gets cracked or chipped, it's likely easier and less expensive to have it removed completely rather than trying to fix it. If you get one removed, you may also need its "partner" on the opposite jaw removed, so check with your dentist to see if this is a plausible option for you.
To learn more about wisdom teeth, contact an oral surgeon like Campus Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
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